Book: Bad Blood

This book – Bad Blood – is an exhaustingly reported account of how Theranos lied and deceived hundreds of people, from employees and investors to the patients. The lies not only cost investors millions of dollars, but also put the patients at potential threats.

I was shocked and amazed by the lack of due diligence some companies showed in doing business with Theranos. Despite all the warning signs and delays, they kept going full force ahead with Elizabeth Theranos. Even more amazing was the list of high profile and experienced individuals such as Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, Jim Mattis, just to name a few, who bought into the lies and deception by Theranos.

I was really angry when reading about an employee taking his own life because of stress from work and another who had several years of his life, a family relationship and hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted by Theranos. In the end, I felt glad and relieved that the fraud of Theranos was put to an end.

I am highly appreciative of this kind of reporting by the author. Theranos resorted to aggressive intimidation and legal bullying to bury every threat that might expose the company in public. Yet, the author was dogged and exhaustive in his reporting. I am glad his editor and Murdoch, who had a financial interest in Theranos at the time and owned the parent company of Wall Street Journal, let the author follow the lead to the very end. In the times of relentless attacks to the press (some is justified, to be fair), this kind of reporting is much needed.

There has been a lot of pushback regarding the impact from regulations on business. Admittedly, there is certainly a lot of unnecessary red tape. However, if you read the book, without regulations, Theranos would have done a much bigger damage. Too many regulations is obviously bad and so is too fewer regulations. Don’t take the extreme. Seek for reasonable regulations.

Final thought is that don’t be evil. Theranos resorted to Non-Disclosure Agreements, top notch lawyers, surveillance, bullying and intimidation to keep quiet those who wished to reveal information on it. Nonetheless, the truth finally came out. In this age and day, access to information is frictionless and so is scrutiny. If you do something bad, it’s just a matter of time when it is revealed.

Easy read. The first half of the book may be a little bit dull, but stick with it. Around 50-60% of the book, the author switched to his investigation of Theranos. It is then more dramatic. If you are looking for a book to read and have no other prioritized books, take this one.

Lesson and inspiration from Lebron’s emergence as a potent 3-point shooter

As a basketball fan and somebody who strives to be better over time, I felt nothing, but deep admiration for Lebron and great inspiration from him after this story from Wall Streel Journal. Per WSJ:

There used to be a way to make James slightly worse at basketball: make him shoot. He wasn’t a bad shooter. He just wasn’t a great shooter. It was smart defense to dare him into a shot if only because that seemed like a better idea than letting him try anything else with the ball in his hands.


I am old enough to remember the time when it gave teams a better odd to just dare Lebron to shoot. He could have done much more damage with his ability to drive or his excellent court vision and passing. There were games in which he shot the lights out. Case in point, 54 out of 78 games in which he scored 40 points or more took place before 2015. 9 out of 12 games in which he scored 50 points or more happened before 2015 (Source: Wikipedia). He is indeed one of the greatest players in history, but was not known for being a great shooter.

Well, not any more. I have watched Lebron take and make more threes and, scarily, deeper threes in the last two or three years. Per WSJ:

One of the most remarkable things about Lebron is his ability to look after his body. Entering the league in 2003 and playing many more games by going deep in the post-season (he has been to the Final every year since 2010), he still has the speed and explosiveness. The vision, the passing and the post-up are still there. Now, he added the pull-up threes to his arsenal. The thing with pull-up threes and long threes in his case is that they open up the defense. Defenders have to go up farther than they wish to defend Lebron. If you know he can make a deep three at 40% rate, it will be foolish to leave him alone. Hence, more space near the basket will be available for Lebron’s teammates and himself.

We can all learn from Lebron. Great as he is, he still strives to grow by adapting his game to the changes in the league. Steph Curry forever changed the NBA with his game. To compete and get better, Lebron managed to add more skills to his repertoire.

In this day and age, access to knowledge and information is more available than ever. There is no shortage of resources that we can use to learn. On the other hand, the job market is more competitive than ever. It is no longer sustainable for any individual to stagnate and be forever satisfied with his or her own skillset. If you stagnate and don’t evolve with the changes in the market, you risk being obsolete. Take some dying industries such as mining or coal. The thing with such industries is that no incentives can save them forever when better alternatives become increasingly cheaper (renewables). Workers in those industries need to be taught new skills to be more competitive in this job market. That’s the long term solution for everyone, not the incentives by the government or tariffs.

Technology opens up a lot of possibilities, but also makes it harder for anyone of us to stand still. A lot of tools nowadays facilitate design and programming for people without technical background with “drag and drop” features. Robinhood allows individuals to invest without fees to brokers. Workers in warehouses are increasingly replaced by more and more automation. Businesses are in the game to make money. If technology can unlock more efficiency with automation and strengthen their bottom line, that’s what they will embrace. As job seekers, we have to adapt and evolve to become an asset that is hard to replace.